Shortcuts on Brexit cash allowed
Ministers are to be allowed to spend money on preparations for Brexit without waiting for parliamentary approval, it has been announced.
The move comes after the surprise revelation by prime minister Theresa May and chancellor Philip Hammond on Wednesday that £250million had been given to four Whitehall departments from Treasury reserves to spend on Brexit.
In a statement to the House of Commons, chief secretary to the Treasury Liz Truss said a procedure known as a “technical direction” was being used to ensure that essential preparations were not delayed by the normal requirement for all spending to be authorised by legislation.
“It is important that departments can start spending to prepare for Brexit when they need to do so,” said Ms Truss.
“Delaying spend until legislation has reached Royal Assent could jeopardise readiness for Brexit.
“To address this, for the small proportion of spending affected, ministers can issue a technical direction, allowing critical spending to be incurred ahead of Royal Assent, whilst ensuring transparency to Parliament.”
Any minister using a technical direction will have to ensure departmental spending is in all other respects “regular, proper, feasible and good value for money”, said Ms Truss.
They will also have to publish a letter informing the House of Commons Public Accounts Committee of their action.